Much more than an ‘itchy pest’: Mosquitoes have played a major role in human history

mosquito x
Credit: Brock University

Fifty-two billion people—almost half of the cumulative human population—are thought to have perished at the hands of a creature no bigger than a fingernail: the mosquito. In his new book The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator, historian Timothy Winegard exposes this insect as not merely an itchy pest, but a force of nature that has dictated the outcome of significant events throughout human history. From ancient Athens to World War II, Winegard highlights key moments when mosquito-borne diseases caused militaries to crumble, great leaders to fall ill, and populations to be left vulnerable to invasion.

[Smithsonian:] What are some of the most common misconceptions people have about mosquitoes?

[Winegard:] In countries that are relatively free of mosquito-borne disease, or have been free of mosquito-borne disease for the last half-century, we tend to think that they’re just annoying pests. We fail to realize that they’re a global problem, especially with trade, travel, and the increased mobility of human populations. There are over 100 trillion mosquitoes on the planet at any given moment, that’s the estimate. It’s a universal problem that requires a universal solution.


Read full, original post: How Mosquitoes Helped Shape the Course of Human History

Related article:  450,000-year-old teeth help piece together human family tree
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend